Updated QB Power Rankings After NFL Week 9
Few weeks have brought as much excitement from the quarterback position as Week 9.
From Andrew Luck setting a new NFL record to Philip Rivers completing 90 percent of his passes, Week 9 brought us some truly incredible performances from the game's most important position. While there were also some dud performances (see Matt Cassel, Brandon Weeden), the majority of the league played quite well this week.
Here are the updated quarterback rankings heading into Week 10.
You can view Week 8's rankings here.
32. Matt Cassel, Kansas City Chiefs
Last Week's Ranking: 32
Week 9 Statistics: 19-of-29, 181 yards, zero touchdowns, one interception, one fumble lost
The Kansas City Chiefs have officially thrown in the towel for the 2012 season, thanks largely to the horrid play of Matt Cassel.
This team will likely end up with the top selection in the 2013 NFL draft, and Cassel will likely be looking for a backup job around the same time.
31. John Skelton, Arizona Cardinals
Last Week's Ranking: 31
Week 9 Statistics: 23-of-46, 306 yards, one touchdown, one interception
While John Skelton's statistics don't seem terrible at first glance, they came against the injury-riddled defense of the Green Bay Packers. The truth of Skelton's Week 9 performance was that he was overmatched for the majority of the game.
Most of his production came later in the game, after the Arizona Cardinals were already all but out of the game. This loss makes it five in a row for Arizona, and I can't see that streak stopping anytime soon with Skelton leading this team.
30. Matt Hasselbeck, Tennessee Titans
Last Week's Ranking: 28
Week 9 Statistics: 20-of-35, 194 yards, one touchdown, one interception
It was quite clear on Sunday that Matt Hasselbeck simply doesn't have what it takes to play against the elite defenses of the NFL anymore. He may still be a quality game manager, but his ability to be a game-changing quarterback has gone out the window.
This was as clear as ever in Week 9, when Hasselbeck found himself down by 26 points in the first quarter. There was simply nothing he could do to control the game or shift the momentum in his favor.
The Tennessee Titans have to be thankful that the injured Jake Locker could finally be back in the starting lineup rather soon. With the team sitting at 3-6, another huge loss like this one against the Chicago Bears could be the official end of the season.
29. Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns
Last Week's Ranking: 29
Week 9 Statistics: 20-of-37, 176 yards, zero touchdowns, two interceptions
Brandon Weeden won't move up or down the rankings this week, simply because of his opponent this week. The Baltimore Ravens have such an experienced defense that few rookie quarterbacks will ever be able to excel against them.
Weeden played a respectable game, but Baltimore was simply too much to handle. The Cleveland Browns are off next week and return in Week 11 to take on the Dallas Cowboys. If Weeden continues to struggle even after his bye, he'll be falling down these rankings.
28. Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles
Last Week's Ranking: 30
Week 9 Statistics: 22-of-41, 272 yards, one touchdown, one interception, 53 rushing yards
This might be the last time we see Michael Vick on our quarterback rankings. He was a little better than he was last week, but not by much.
The Philadelphia Eagles have lost four straight games, and Vick hasn't done anything to get them moving in the right direction. He is still turning the ball over, making poor decisions and trying to make too many plays when he doesn't need to.
If Vick doesn't lose his job to Nick Foles after this week's blowout loss, then Andy Reid has officially lost his mind.
27. Blaine Gabbert, Jacksonville Jaguars
Last Week's Ranking: 27
Week 9 Statistics: 27-of-38, 220 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions
Had Blaine Gabbert not had the fourth quarter that he had in Week 9, he would have taken a tumble down this list. However, even with his team down 24 points, Gabbert showed some heart by not completely giving up.
There is little doubt that Gabbert's overall play has improved from his rookie year, but I'm just not sure it is enough for the Jacksonville Jaguars to feel confident moving forward with him as their quarterback.
26. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills
Last Week's Ranking: 24
Week 9 Statistics: 25-of-38, 239 yards, zero touchdowns, zero interceptions, one fumble lost
The Buffalo Bills continue to struggle to be truly competitive in big games, and a huge reason why is the play of Ryan Fitzpatrick. In three games against playoff-caliber teams (Houston, San Francisco, New England), Fitzpatrick has four touchdowns, six turnovers and a 73.9 quarterback rating.
That quarterback rating is nearly 12 points lower than his rating on the entire season. Until Fitzpatrick can prove to be valuable in big games, he'll continue to be considered one of the less talented quarterbacks in the league.
25. Mark Sanchez, New York Jets
Last Week's Ranking: 25
Week 9 Statistics: N/A (The New York Jets had a bye in Week 9)
No movement for Mark Sanchez this week, as the Jets got some much-needed rest in Week 9. His matchup in Week 10 against the Seattle Seahawks will be a huge game for both New York and Sanchez.
If he plays well against a top defense like Seattle, the Jets should feel confident moving forward with him. However, if he struggles, we might see a new quarterback on Broadway come next season.
24. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins
Last Week's Ranking: 22
Week 9 Statistics: 22-of-38, 290 yards, one touchdown, zero interceptions
In a matchup against fellow rookie Andrew Luck, Ryan Tannehill got outplayed. While it was evident that Tannehill has a ton of potential, it was also evident just how far he is from being as talented as Luck is right now.
He's still one of the most pleasant surprises of the year despite a loss in Week 9. Even with the Miami Dolphins sitting at 4-4 after his loss, Tannehill still has the opportunity to lead this team to the playoffs.
He'll need to be able to close games down the stretch, but he is definitely talented enough to get this team a wild-card spot in the AFC.
23. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Last Week's Ranking: 26
Week 9 Statistics: 16-of-24, 173 yards, three touchdowns, zero interceptions
Russell Wilson makes a jump up on this list, but not simply because he had a solid start in Week 9. It is because that start came against a defense as impressive as the that of the Minnesota Vikings.
After struggling a little last week against the Detroit Lions, things didn't look good for Wilson heading into this game. However, he once again proved just how special of a player he can be by stepping up in a huge way.
He made the throws he needed to in order to get a much-needed victory to keep the Seattle Seahawks in the playoff picture in the NFC.
22. Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams
Last Week's Ranking: 21
Week 9 Statistics: N/A (The St. Louis Rams had a bye in Week 9)
After starting the season rather well, Sam Bradford cooled down quite a bit heading into the Rams' bye in Week 9.
Hopefully this rest was just what Bradford needed to get back to playing at a high level for the remainder of the season.
21. Christian Ponder, Minnesota Vikings
Last Week's Ranking: 18
Week 9 Statistics: 11-of-22, 63 yards, zero touchdowns, one interception
Christian Ponder started the season looking like he might be the best second-year quarterback in the NFL. However, his play has dropped off in a big way in recent weeks as he continues to fall towards the back end of the quarterback rankings.
Over the past four games, Ponder has thrown four touchdowns compared to six interceptions. His quarterback rating has dipped below 40 in two of those games, and the Minnesota Vikings are only 1-3 over that period.
For a moment, it appeared as if Ponder and the Vikings were ready to surprise the NFL, but with each game that Ponder struggles, it appears as if they aren't quite yet a true threat in this league.
20. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
Last Week's Ranking: 19
Week 9 Statistics: 26-of-42, 299 yards, one touchdown, one interception
The season is quickly slipping away from the Cincinnati Bengals and Andy Dalton. Both Dalton and the Bengals looked ready to make the next leap early in the season, but four straight losses have brought them back down to Earth.
The biggest issue with Dalton continues to be his decision making. While he is on pace to throw for over 4,000 yards and 28 touchdowns, he is also on pace to throw 22 interceptions.
For Dalton to be considered one of the better quarterbacks in the league, that interception number needs to drop significantly. Until that happens, Dalton will continue to be little more than a decent quarterback in this league.
19. Carson Palmer, Oakland Raiders
Last Week's Ranking: 23
Week 9 Statistics: 39-of-61, 414 yards, four touchdowns, three interceptions
I've been hesitant to move Carson Palmer up these rankings the past few weeks because I had been expecting a major drop in his play. However, Palmer continues to play very well, despite being forced to become the facilitator for this offense.
With Darren McFadden injuring his ankle early in the first quarter in Week 9, the Oakland Raiders had no other choice but to let Palmer throw the ball 61 times on Sunday. He almost rewarded them with a victory, but Doug Martin proved to be too much for the Raiders defense to handle.
While I ultimately believe that Palmer's play will slightly decline as the season goes on—especially if McFadden is out for an extended period of time—he certainly deserves to be considered a top-20 quarterback right now.
18. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
Last Week's Ranking: 20
Week 9 Statistics: 13-of-23, 201 yards, one touchdown, zero interceptions, one rushing touchdown
This is the type of solid, mistake-free game that the Carolina Panthers have been waiting for from Cam Newton this season.
While his completion percentage isn't great, his two total touchdowns, zero turnovers and a win are far more important. Newton doesn't have to be spectacular for this team to win games.
He simply needs to be smart with the football and limit his mistakes. If he can do that for the remainder of the season, he should have no difficulty re-establishing himself as one of the best young quarterbacks in the league.
17. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens
Last Week's Ranking: 17
Week 9 Statistics: 15-of-24, 153 yards, one touchdown, zero interceptions
Against a team like the Cleveland Browns, Joe Flacco has to play better if he ever wants to get back into the top half of these quarterback rankings.
Yes, his team won rather easily on Sunday, but Flacco can't continue to put up pedestrian numbers if the Baltimore Ravens want to be considered Super Bowl contenders. With the top teams in the AFC able to put points on the board in bunches, the Ravens would be no match if Flacco can only throw for 153 yards and a touchdown.
This team will only go as far as Flacco can take it, and through nine weeks it still doesn't appear as if Flacco is ready to take the Ravens to the Super Bowl.
16. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
Last Week's Ranking: 16
Week 9 Statistics: 18-of-20, 220 yards, two touchdowns, one interception
No movement from Philip Rivers this week despite playing a solid game. The problem is that his solid game came against the Kansas City Chiefs.
At this point, I'm pretty sure a high school quarterback could have a solid game against the Chiefs. Until Rivers plays like this against a top team, he'll continue to be a middle-of-the-road quarterback in the NFL.
15. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
Last Week's Ranking: 13
Week 9 Statistics: 22-of-33, 285 yards, zero touchdowns, zero interceptions
After throwing for over 40 touchdowns in 2011, Matthew Stafford is only on pace to throw for 16 touchdowns this season. To put that number in perspective, Aaron Rodgers has thrown for three times as many touchdowns as Stafford has this season in only one more game.
Elite quarterbacks find ways to get the ball in the end zone. That simply isn't happening for Stafford this season. While a win is nice for the Detroit Lions, zero touchdowns against the Jacksonville Jaguars is certainly reason enough to drop a few spots in these rankings.
14. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
Last Week's Ranking: 15
Week 9 Statistics: 25-of-35, 321 yards, one touchdown, zero interceptions
No quarterback has been as hard to peg as Tony Romo has been this season. There is no doubting that he is loaded with talent, but his execution certainly lags more often than not.
While people may think it is unfair to say Romo doesn't show up in big games, he certainly hasn't shown it this season. I'm sorry, but you simply can't put 13 points on the board against the best team in the league and expect to be considered a top quarterback.
The Dallas Cowboys season is quickly turning into a nightmare, and if it continues in this way, it won't be long before Romo is no longer starting for Dallas.
13. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins
Last Week's Ranking: 11
Week 9 Statistics: 23-of-39, 215 yards, zero touchdowns, zero interceptions, 53 rushing yards
This is the second straight week that we've had Robert Griffin III fall down our rankings. In a matchup against the helpless Carolina Panthers, Griffin couldn't get anything going to help his team win.
His 74.2 quarterback rating on Sunday was his second lowest of the season, and it was only the second time it has dipped below 80 this season. Both of those lower ratings have come in the past two weeks.
Griffin is finally hitting his rookie slump, and while he's still been exceptional this season, he is no longer the top-rated rookie quarterback in the league after Week 9.
12. Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last Week's Ranking: 12
Week 9 Statistics: 18-of-30, 247 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions, one fumble lost
When your running back rushes for 251 yards and four touchdowns, you don't really have to do much to get a victory. However, even with Doug Martin making it look like he was playing Madden 13, Freeman still looked good in Week 9.
While his play did drop off quite a bit in the second half, it was still good enough to hold onto his No. 12 ranking heading into Week 10. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are quietly putting themselves back into the playoff picture, due in large part to the recent play of Freeman and Martin.
11. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
Last Week's Ranking: 14
Week 9 Statistics: 30-of-48, 433 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions
For the first time this season, Andrew Luck becomes the top-ranked rookie quarterback in the NFL.
To call Luck's Week 9 performance anything less than spectacular wouldn't be giving him enough credit. Not only did he pass for the most yards in a game by a rookie quarterback, but he led another late scoring drive to give his team a victory over the Miami Dolphins.
The Indianapolis Colts currently sit with a 5-3 record in 2012. If any other quarterback other than Luck was leading this team, I guarantee they wouldn't have that record. He's rejuvenated this franchise with his play, and it is only going to get better.
10. Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers
Last Week's Ranking: 10
Week 9 Statistics: N/A (The San Francisco 49ers had a bye this week)
The top 10 of these power rankings remains mostly the same from last week, and it all starts with Alex Smith.
A home game against the St. Louis Rams next week should be a good one to gauge what type of Smith we'll see for the remainder of the season. If he plays well, the 49ers will have to be considered a legitimate Super Bowl threat.
However, if he struggles, we could see San Francisco struggling to keep up with teams like the Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons.
9. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears
Last Week's Ranking: 9
Week 9 Statistics: 19-of-26, 229 yards, three touchdowns, zero interceptions, one fumble lost
It is always interesting to see whether Jay Cutler or the Chicago Bears defense is going to score more touchdowns each week. This week went to Cutler, who outscored the defense by a score of three to two.
The Tennessee Titans had no answer for Cutler or the Bears defense in Week 9, and it showed by the 51-20 drubbing that they took at home. The best news from this game was the way that Cutler found Brandon Marshall so often in the end zone.
The three touchdowns on Sunday set up Marshall and Cutler to have one of the best seasons of their careers. At this point, it is going to take some rather awful performances from Cutler to drop him out of the top 10.
8. Matt Schaub, Houston Texans
Last Week's Ranking: 8
Week 9 Statistics: 19-of-27, 268 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions
With the Buffalo Bills completely overmatched by the Houston Texans, Matt Schaub didn't need to do much to come away with a win on Sunday.
Schaub played his usual sound football this week and was a tactician at dismantling whatever Buffalo brought his way. He's playing some of the best football of his career right now, and the Texans are benefiting by looking like one of the best teams in the league.
7. Eli Manning, New York Giants
Last Week's Ranking: 7
Week 9 Statistics: 10-of-24, 125 yards, zero touchdowns, one interception
This certainly wasn't the way that Eli Manning expected things to go on Sunday. He was coming off an emotional win in Week 8 against the Dallas Cowboys, and he came out completely flat against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
He was outplayed by Ben Roethlisberger, which is why you'll see Roethlisberger's name higher for the second consecutive week. Manning finished the game with a 41.1 quarterback rating and 41.7 percent completion rate.
This was easily the worst game of the season for Manning, but one bad game isn't enough for a move down the rankings. Look for him to right his ship against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 10 before heading into his bye week.
6. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
Last Week's Ranking: 6
Week 9 Statistics: 21-of-30, 216 yards, two touchdowns, one interception, one fumble lost
Ben Roethlisberger continues to impress and elevate his game with each passing week. He looks poised to lead the Pittsburgh Steelers on another deep playoff run.
While his numbers weren't overly impressive this week, he still did enough to take down one of the best teams in the league. He moved the ball when his team needed him to and made timely throws throughout the game.
It'll be hard for Big Ben to crack the top five, but if he continues to improve like he has since Week 1, we could certainly see him replace a quarterback ranked higher than him in the near future.
5. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Last Week's Ranking: 5
Week 9 Statistics: 21-of-27, 239 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions, one fumble lost
After a tough loss to the Denver Broncos last week, Drew Brees came back in a big way in Week 9 to get a much-needed victory.
He was his usual accurate self, completing over 77 percent of his passes en route to a quarterback rating of 128.2. Brees had little difficulty moving the ball down the field and finding his top target, Jimmy Graham.
The New Orleans Saints are going to need Brees to continue to play at a high level if they want any chance at sneaking into the playoffs this year. Fortunately, Brees absolutely looks up to the challenge.
4. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Last Week's Ranking: 4
Week 9 Statistics: N/A (The New England Patriots had a bye this week)
Despite the fact that neither Peyton Manning nor Matt Ryan had an extremely impressive week, Tom Brady remains at the No. 4 spot heading into Week 10. With back-to-back games against the Buffalo Bills and the Indianapolis Colts in the next weeks, look for Brady to continue to entrench himself as a top-five quarterback.
3. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
Last Week's Ranking: 3
Week 9 Statistics: 27-of-35, 291 yards, three touchdowns, two interceptions
It wasn't always pretty on Sunday, but Peyton Manning still got the job done for the Denver Broncos against the Cincinnati Bengals.
This victory gives Peyton three straight, and it makes the Broncos the team to beat in the AFC West. On top of that, Manning looks more and more like an MVP candidate with each passing game.
The only thing that the Broncos need to worry about is how Manning will hold up during the second half of the season. As long as fatigue doesn't start affecting his play, they should have no difficulty making a run in the playoffs.
2. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
Last Week's Ranking: 1
Week 9 Statistics: 24-of-34, 342 yards, zero touchdowns, zero interceptions
Despite not throwing a touchdown pass on Sunday, Matt Ryan was still crucial in the Atlanta Falcons' continuing quest of ultimate perfection.
When the Dallas Cowboys cut the lead to three points in the fourth quarter, Ryan went to work. He led the Falcons on a scoring drive that took all but a few seconds off the clock to seal the victory.
It is this type of clutch play that has Ryan ranked as the No. 2 quarterback heading into Week 10.
1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Last Week's Ranking: 2
Week 9 Statistics: 14-of-30, 218 yards, four touchdowns, one interception
Aaron Rodgers briefly lost his hold on the top spot last week, but he got it back with a monster game against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 9.
While he wasn't extremely accurate with a 46.7 percent completion percentage, he still threw for four touchdowns. With three of those touchdowns coming in the first half to give the Green Bay Packers a 14-point lead heading into halftime, Rodgers didn't really need to do much in the second half to ensure a victory.
Green Bay has now won four games in a row, and both the Packers and Rodgers seem poised to keep playing at a high level for the remainder of the season.